Is cold calling still relevant to marketing your business?

Is cold calling still relevant to marketing your business?
May 5, 2016 Madeleine Helme

Marketers have been claiming for years that cold calling is dead, and we wouldn’t blame you for agreeing with them. Just think about how you feel when you receive a cold call? Most would say, annoyed, inconvenienced, and irritated. When you consider this as the default reaction to picking up a cold sales call, you might wonder how they ever actually manage to convert to a sale.

Are marketers really ready to ditch cold calling entirely? Many businesses still see it as an important part of their marketing mix, whereas others dispute its effectiveness. Here are a few pros and cons of cold calling to help you decide.

Pros

  • More personal – Talking to someone over the phone is more personal than talking to them online. When you can hear someone’s voice, you have the benefit of hearing the tone they are speaking in. This can instantly give you an idea of whether they are interested or not, which can be disguised better when communicating online.
  • Less passive – On social media you often have to wait for people to come to you. If someone just isn’t interested, then you can find this out within 10 seconds of them answering the phone. You can then move onto the next lead rather than waiting around for a response that might never come.
  • Less competition – Online, everyone is competing for your customers’ attention. When someone answers your call, they have to either pay attention or hang up. In a one-to-one phone call, you don’t have to compete with others for your prospect’s attention.

Cons

  • Calls go unanswered – People are generally warier of sales calls these days. With the help of caller ID technology, they are also well-trained at spotting them. Many people simply won’t answer the phone to a number they do not recognize.
  • Bad reputation – There is a stigma associated with cold calling. Most people just don’t like it, so if they receive a cold call from you with little to no other knowledge about your company, this is a bad first impression to make. This might give them a negative perception of your business.
  • Time consuming – With such a low conversion rate, you could spend all day making cold calls and come out with absolutely no positive results. This is time that you could have dedicated to other marketing activities.

Our verdict

Perhaps we shouldn’t be abandoning cold calling altogether. Instead, we should evolve it to fit better in today’s marketing landscape with a technique the experts are calling ‘warm calling’. By using digital platforms and analytics tools, you can identify individuals who have shown an interest in your business by following you on social media, downloading a resource from your website, or subscribing to receive your e-newsletter, for example. If you contact people who already have some knowledge and, hopefully, interest in your business and what it offers, then they are less likely to see it as a nuisance call and more likely to convert.

Ecommerce sites adopt similar principles; if you add an item to your shopping basket on Amazon, for example, but don’t proceed to buy it, then they will send you an email in the next couple of days reminding you of this product, showing you similar suggestions, or even offering you a discount if you continue with your purchase. You could also apply this to sales calls, which is a more direct and personal approach than an email, and is more difficult to ignore.

So, chances are that cold calling is not going to be your secret to overnight success, but with hard work and determination, it could contribute towards achieving results from your marketing strategy and achieving more sales and higher profits. Perhaps it just needs a little innovation to bring it into the modern era.

After working in marketing for two years I decided to become a freelance writer. In my spare time I enjoy watching films and television and keeping fit through going to the gym and practising taekwondo.